I basically cannot get down with the sickness.
February 3, 2013 5:56 PM   Subscribe

Help! I'm starting my new job tomorrow and I think I'm getting sick. YANMD.

I'm in Boston. I fly to North Carolina tomorrow for training. I'll be there for two days. I'm all packed and ready to head for the airport tomorrow morning.

About six hours ago, I noticed a throat tickle. This has progressed into the little girl's plea from Chloraseptic commercials of old: "It hurts when I swallow!"

This is my first job out of college, and it's basically my dream job. I've already rescheduled my training days once due to delays in moving across the country. I'm really worried that if I reschedule again, especially at the last minute like this, I will look totally unreliable.

I haven't had strep throat since I was a kid, but this feels like what the beginnings of that felt like. Fuck, fuck, fuck. I had a flu shot a month ago, so this (hopefully) isn't the beginnings of that.

What do I do if I wake up tomorrow morning and can't talk? Will I be infecting everyone within radius if I go ahead and go? Is there anything I can do tonight or tomorrow before I get on the plane at 8 am to mitigate this? Am I overreacting to a little sore throat? (I'm not miserable or anything, but there's definitely a problem.)
posted by woodvine to Work & Money (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
9 times out of 10 when I have a hurts-to-swallow throat thing, it goes away after a day spent chugging some 'tussin.

If you haven't already, go get yourself some. The good stuff with the dxm, not the children's syrup.

Don't take too much more than a regular dosage because otherwise you'll have really fucked up dreams.

Hope you feel better!
posted by phunniemee at 6:02 PM on February 3, 2013

I bet it's just a cold. My colds always start with a sore throat. If you don't want to reschedule, you're gonna have to suck it up :( you won't infect anyone if you're careful and not careless.

Take an Emergen-c with a BIG glass of water before bed. Maybe two, spaced out, depending on your time zone. Drink one in the morning, and do like 3 per day. Try to get as much sleep as you can.

That's basically my go to when I'm getting sick. Seems to help. you can also suck on a zinc tablet.
posted by christiehawk at 6:04 PM on February 3, 2013

The primary thing to worry about is being contagious. Spreading viral yuk isn't a great introduction to the company.

More and more, organizations are recognizing that having people "tough it out" only causes the problem to get worse and it actually costs the company money.

You know, people get sick and generally there isn't a good time for it. I say, go on the trip and see if you can manage. If you don't get a fever, then yeah, tough it out.

If you do, let people know you are sick and don't want to spread it around. Don't say, "I knew this was hitting me but I traveled on the company dime anyway." No back-story is necessary.
posted by trinity8-director at 6:06 PM on February 3, 2013

Warm salt water gargle at regular intervals.
Drink lots of fluids.
If you're having postnasal drip, Sudafed/pseudoephedrine (unless it makes you speedy) to dry it up.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:15 PM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Have some hot tea and honey and get a good night's rest. You say this is your "dream job" and you've already postponed once, so I think you should plan to go on your trip. Do all you can to show up. If you get there and you're sick, that sucks, but they will see for themselves that you really are sick and not just flaky/lying and probably send you home to rest. It may also show how determined you are and that could be a positive. If you don't get sick, then no problem.
If it will make you feel better about not infecting others, stop by the pharmacy and get a few of those disposable masks to wear on the plane and use lots of antibacterial wipes.
posted by NoraCharles at 6:18 PM on February 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

And plan to go/show up, barring a fever, even if you can't talk. Just bring throat drops and water, and be scrupulous about washing your hands.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:20 PM on February 3, 2013

Best answer: I was in the midst of the worst cold I'd had in years when I had to fly across the country for a can't-miss training a couple weeks ago.

I slept whenever I could. I took Advil cold meds, the non-sleepy kind. I took NyQuil one night when I really needed it (it makes me feel hungover so I take it sparingly). I bought All the Kleenex and All the Tea. I gargled with warm salt water. I took steamy showers.

Real sudafed has also helped a lot.

I also just powered through, coughed through my training, and apologized a lot to my coworkers.

Good luck. Everyone I know who's had this thing has been pretty miserable for at least ten days, so I hope you don't have this particular thing.
posted by rtha at 6:24 PM on February 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

I used to be in the never-take-medicine-unless-absolutely-necessary camp. I also used to get a lot of full-blown colds.

But I've realized that for me, if I take a couple emgencies spaced out, gargle with salt-water, take a multivitamin and a b complex, and take a nyquil and go to bed and get an extra hour sleep, I can prevent a cold from coming full-on. Do this tonight!

Tomorrow, get your hands on a Clariton-D. (The ones behind the counter that you have to show your ID for.) This will help you feel better today and deal with any possible congestion.

I've had several times this year where I felt a cold coming on with a sore throat and runny nose, and my head feeling hot but not registering a fever. After doing my cold-prevention routine and resting an evening and getting a good night's sleep, I usually am able to prevent it from coming on.
posted by shortyJBot at 6:29 PM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Take a very, very hot bath with ginger; you will sweat like mad. Drink lots of water and ginger tea. Then sleep well. Good luck!
posted by Riverine at 7:04 PM on February 3, 2013

My cure is a combination of many of the above -- a trick I learned from a former Broadway actress who had never dared get sick when she was in a show:

1. Stop whatever you're doing and get home asap.
2. Drink a half gallon of orange juice.
3. 'tussin up.
4. While you're waiting for meds to kick in, take a super hot shower and bundle up warm. You will get drowsy.
5. Sleep, sleep, sleep.
6. Have something salty for breakfast, like sausage or bacon, something that sticks to your throat.
posted by mochapickle at 7:12 PM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Throat coat tea, if you have time to run out and get some.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:46 PM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh, and saline nasal spray.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:46 PM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

When I get a sore throat like that it means a cold is coming. Real Sudafed is the answer. Don't bother with anything that doesn't have pseudoephedrine in it.

Don't take it before going to bed though, it will keep you up and the lack of sleep will make things worse.

Hydrating and staying warm are also crucial.

Good luck!!
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:14 PM on February 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

I got sick while in Italy in the fall. My friend and I arrived at the town we were staying out just outside of Venice and I basically started sneezing constantly. We arrived in the afternoon, then the next day was booked for Venice and we were leaving the day after. I could not miss out on Venice.

What I did:

- used some of my friend's Buckley's (like DayQuil, basically)
- tried to sleep as best I could
- drank plenty of water

I woke up the next day not sneezing any longer, took more Buckley's and headed out to Venice. (I wasn't in top form, but I managed to wander around with my friend for more than eight hours, so there's that.)

Barring it actually being strep throat, you should be fine as long as you drink plenty of clear liquids, sleep when you can and take an over-the-counter cold medication, such as DayQuil or Sudafed or Buckley's.

If you get a fever, that's less good, but the OTCs should reduce/lower the fever and you shouldn't worry too much unless it's a persistently high fever, at which point you should consult your doctor. (IANAD, IANYD, etc, etc.)

Good luck and feel better soon. :)
posted by juliebug at 12:45 AM on February 4, 2013

Response by poster: I woke up and the sore throat is no better, but also no worse, so I'm going. I had no time to grab meds last night, but I will do that upon arrival today. Thanks for all the great advice, as well as reassuring me that I'm not a plague rat/Patient Zero.
posted by woodvine at 3:21 AM on February 4, 2013

FWIW, I called in once on the first day of work, they were incredibly nice about it.
posted by sammyo at 5:49 AM on February 4, 2013

Get a very expensive refrigerated probiotic and take it every four hours. This will jack up your immune system like nothing else. The other things are good symptom removers, but to really buzz it away, try a probiotic!
posted by msleann at 6:37 PM on February 4, 2013

The adrenaline from the first day at a job would keep me going all day! But also, bring lots of cough drops (I like sugar-free Halls). They'll clear your throat and your nose. I also like the "1,000 mg Emergen-C" packets I buy in the drug stores. Those usually fix a cold for me in a day or two.
posted by bendy at 11:00 PM on February 8, 2013

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